Firstsite celebrates 10th birthday by creating a national gallery

EDITORIAL USE ONLYArtwork depicting animals, created by (left to right) Iggy and Romey is displayed

Artwork depicting animals, created by (left to right) Iggy and Romey is displayed in the windows of a row of houses to launch The Great Big Art Exhibition, the nation's largest ever exhibition, an initiative by Firstsite. - Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

People across East Anglia are being invited to make works of art to put up in their front windows to create the nation’s largest ever exhibition – a celebration of creativity to counter the gloom of the pandemic.

People are being encouraged to draw, paint, sculpt, build or create their own artwork and put it up in their front windows, on their front door, balcony or garden.

Presented by Firstsite, in Colchester to celebrate its 10th anniversary and supported by the Plus Tate Network which includes leading museums and galleries across the UK, artworks can be made of anything, and Firstsite will be making key works from across the UK available for download – to use as a template, for colouring in or as an inspiration. 

EDITORIAL USE ONLYArtwork depicting animals, created by Raymond and Leonard is displayed in the win

Artwork depicting animals, created by Raymond and Leonard is displayed in the window of a house to launch The Great Big Art Exhibition, the nation's largest ever exhibition, an initiative by Firstsite. - Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

The Directors of the National Gallery, Tate, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland, V&A, National Museums Liverpool, Royal Academy of Arts, the Ashmolean Museum, The Courtauld, The Wallace Collection, Arts Council Collection and museums and galleries across the country have selected works which they think will be inspiring.

The Great Big Art Exhibition will be launched on January 28, 2021 with a call to the nation to create a work.


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Leading artists will choose a different theme each fortnight. The opening theme, chosen by Antony Gormley, will be animals, with portraits, chosen by Sonia Boyce, to follow.

Other artists supporting the project include Etel Adnan and Simone Fattal, Anish Kapoor, Tai Shani, Jeremy Deller, David Shrigley, Ai Weiwei and Ryan Gander.

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People can work as individuals or as a community, by joining up ‘virtually’ with their street, school, temple, church, shopping centre or football team to produce a memorable and exciting artwork.

Sally Shaw MBE, Director of Firstsite, said: “The doors to our collections and galleries might be shut but our imaginations are forever open. Making, showing and experiencing art has created so much joy, connection and solace for many thousands of people.

"I can’t wait to see a brand new nationwide art gallery appearing before our eyes in coming days, weeks and months. This is sure to be an incredible expression of people’s creativity.”

EDITORIAL USE ONLYArtwork depicting animals, created by (left to right) Stephanie, aged 8, Benjamin

Artwork depicting animals, created by (left to right) Stephanie, aged 8, Benjamin, aged 6 and Shalomy, aged 10 which will be displayed on a row of houses to launch The Great Big Art Exhibition. - Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

She said a magical patchwork of national creativity will be revealed by the summer. 

The Great Big Art Exhibition will be launched on January 28 2021 and run through to the end of April 2021.

People wanting to take part should visit www.firstsite.uk for instructions and all creative resources to help get making and showing art everywhere.
 

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